India has managed to bring its first (and only) Covid wave under control. This turnaround is apparent in how deaths have dropped across most regions in the country.(AFP)
India has managed to bring its first (and only) Covid wave under control. This turnaround is apparent in how deaths have dropped across most regions in the country.(AFP)

8 regions report 0 Covid-19 deaths in 7 days

  • Govt says India has flattened the curve; Maharashtra reports nearly a third of all Covid-19 deaths in the last one week
By Jamie Mullick, Rhythma Kaul, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 29, 2021 05:52 AM IST

Eighteen of India’s states and Union Territories (UTs) have reported one or fewer deaths a day on average because of Covid-19 in the past week, and eight have not seen a single person die of the viral disease in the same period — statistics that underline a remarkable turnaround in the country’s Covid-19 trajectory.

At the other end of the spectrum, Maharashtra alone reported nearly a third (32%) of all Covid-19 deaths in India in the last seven days, according to data analysed by HT.

Seven out of every 10 people (70%) who have died of the coronavirus disease in the country over the past week have been residents of just six states — Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, West Bengal, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

The seven-day average of deaths, also known as the death trajectory, in India on Thursday touched 140 — the lowest this number has been in 250 days. The last time the death trajectory was higher was more than eight months ago, on May 22, 2020. The seven-day average of deaths in the country peaked for the week ending September 15, when 1,169 people died on average every day.

“India has flattened its Covid-19 graph,” Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday after chairing the 23rd meeting of the group of ministers (GoM) on Covid-19.

“A total of 146 districts across the country have no new cases for the last seven days, 18 for the last 14 days, six for 21 days and 21 districts have not reported fresh cases of the coronavirus infection in the last 28 days,” Vardhan said. Of the over 700 districts, 20% have not reported any Covid-19 case in the last one week.

“Less than 12,000 cases were reported in the last 24 hours and the active caseload has reduced to just 173,000,” he said. Out of the total active cases, just 0.46% of the positive cases are on ventilator, 2.2% are in the ICU, and just 3% are on oxygen support, which experts say means that the death rate is expected to remain low in the coming weeks.

India, which has reported more than 10.7 million infections and over 153,000 deaths, is the world’s second-worst hit country, only behind the United States. It has seen a drastic turnaround since its mid-September peak where for a month-and-a-half period it was reporting the maximum number of new daily infections and deaths. But since then, the country has managed to bring its first (and only) Covid wave under control. This turnaround is apparent in how deaths have dropped across most regions in the country.

Average daily deaths have dropped to one or below in 18 states and UTs. While a majority of these are UTs and low population states from the northeast, several large population states such as Assam (four deaths in the last week), Odisha (four deaths last week), Rajasthan (seven deaths), Himachal Pradesh (seven deaths) and Goa (seven deaths) also make the list.

Jammu and Kashmir (eight deaths in the last week), Jharkhand (nine deaths), Andhra Pradesh and Telangana with 10 deaths a week have all averaged marginally above the one-death-a-day mark.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura all have not reported a single death in the past week. Manipur and Puducherry have reported three deaths in the last week, while Meghalaya and Sikkim have both reported two fatalities due to Covid in the last seven days, data shows.

India’s case fatality rate (CFR), the number of deaths out of total number of positive cases of any infectious disease, has shown a steady decline – from 3.4% in mid-June 2020, to the current rate of 1.4%. “Hospitalisations have almost finished; we are seeing very few new Covid-19 cases in hospitals nowadays. Most cases we get are old cases who suffer from post-Covid complications...the incidence has gone down significantly,” said Dr GC Khilnani, former head of the pulmonology department, AIIMS, New Delhi.

“We have to be cautious in the coming months because of the nature of transmission being witnessed in other countries... We cannot afford to let our guard drop,” Vardhan said.

Experts agree. “If we see what is happening in other countries, there is always a possibility of the disease making a comeback. It could be a cyclic phenomenon where one cycle is over and other may follow,” said Jacob John, former head of the virology department at Christian Medical College, Vellore.

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